Celebrating Women Composers

Project Timeframe: three years ending June 2019

Like many music organizations, Elektra is looking to encourage women composers and create opportunities to increase the body of outstanding choral repertoire written by women. Whether or not their music already includes music for classically-based women’s choir, we are interested to know who is out there, within and outside of the borders of Canada. Music by contemporary composers and those from previous eras are all of interest.

The project is curated by Artistic Director Morna Edmundson and is embedded within Elektra’s season and outreach programs. With multi-year project funding from the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Arts Council, the goal is to create opportunities for and increase the visibility of women composers. Well-established and emerging composers are involved. Some aspects involve open calls for submissions, and some are by invitation. Activities include:

* A higher than usual representation of women composers in Elektra’s season programming over three seasons.
* Calls for composers interested in professional commissions for Elektra’s concerts and outreach events
* Direct invitations to composers to write a work on commission from Elektra
* Residencies, videos created for conductors to learn about specific composers, and pre-concert talks
* The opportunity for programmed composers to provide notes in our concert “Listener’s Guides”
* Inclusion of the programmed and commissioned works on Elektra’s “Repertoire Resources” web database
* Possibility of posting of live concert video on Elektra’s YouTube channel
* Possibility of subsequent studio recording for commercial release
* Possibility of sheet music publication through Cypress Choral Music
* Possibility of co-commissions through Elektra’s network of women’s choirs nationally and internationally

The first season (16/17) included the commissioning of Katerina Gimon for Elektra’s January 30, 2017 Choral Leadership Workshop. All Together We Are Love was read by over 250 youth and adults, including Elektra, and subsequently programmed by some of the eight choirs involved.  An all-women composers concert in May 2017 featured Kathleen Allan’s new suite, Primary Colours: Three Canticles for Women’s Choir and Piano, which Elektra subsequently performed at the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona and released on the CD, Your One and Only Life

17/18 saw the commissioning of Laura Hawley‘s Carol Trilogy at Christmas, the selection of Jocelyn Hagen’s Starting Now from an Open Call for Works, as well as commissioned works in the spring from Carol Barnett and Alexina Louie.

In the 18/19 season, the choir commissioned works from Cassie Luftspring, Kate MacColl, Laura Hawley, and Marie-Claire Saindon, programmed a concert by women composers, released a CD featuring 50% music by women, invited Ramona Luengen to be the guest clinician at its Reading Session of New Compositions, and will be publishing overview videos by three featured composers.

Generously supported by:

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